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Speedworks and Handy Motorsport confirm 2016 BTCC campaigns

Thursday, January 14 2016

Affiliated Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship teams Speedworks and Handy Motorsport have confirmed their plans for the 2016 season, with fan favourite Rob Austin joining forces with Simon Belcher's squad.

Northwich-based Speedworks has retained rising star Tom Ingram for a third season, following impressive performances from the 22-year-old last year. Ingram scored the team's first two podium finishes on his way to 13th place in the overall standings. The deal coincides with a new livery for the team's Toyota Avensis, courtesy of new sponsor, motorsport insurance specialist REIS.

Ingram said: "For me, it was a complete no-brainer to stay with Speedworks. The team's work ethic is second-to-none; everybody is ultra-professional, but at the same time they know how to have fun. The second half of last year was hugely positive for us, and it was encouraging to see all the development that we had put in paying off.

"We only really scratched the surface in 2015 of what we can achieve with this car - although the first half obviously wasn't what we had been hoping for, we dug deep and turned it around in style. There is a lot more to come from the Avensis yet, and I genuinely believe we can be a force to be reckoned with this year."

SimpsonBTCCSpeedworks will run a second car in 2016 for BTCC debutant Matt Simpson. The 34-year-old former European Hot Rod Champion will race a Team Dynamics-built Honda Civic Type R.

Simpson said: "To be racing in such a popular and prestigious championship is a huge deal for me. I can't wait to get started, but at the same time, I'm keeping my feet firmly on the ground. There are so many quick and ultra-experienced drivers out there on the grid, and I'm aware I have a lot to learn. If we can make consistent progress over the course of the season, then it will have been a good rookie year."

Meanwhile, Speedworks-assisted outfit Handy Motorsport has signed race-winning driver and fan favourite Austin for the forthcoming season. The deal includes Handy Motorsport taking on Rob Austin Racing personnel, as Belcher's squad prepares to make a big step up the grid with its Toyota Avensis.

HandyBTCCAustin said: "I'm really excited to be joining forces with Handy Motorsport. The new car is a lot more suited to the [championship] regulations than my Audis were and through this deal we're combining the best bits of both teams. I think we should be able to do a really good job with the new Toyota and spring some surprises.

"There will be some adapting back to front-wheel drive but, as Colin Turkington has proved, if you can drive you can drive. It's hard work organising the money, running a team, sorting the sponsorship and driving as well, so I'm looking forward to focusing on the thing I do best rather than spreading myself so thin. This really is a perfect opportunity."

Tickets are available for 2016 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship rounds at Brands Hatch Indy on 2/3 April, Oulton Park on 4/5 June, Snetterton on 30/31 July and Brands Hatch Grand Prix on 1/2 October. Entry is free for under-13s. For more information click on the links.